Recently Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney Joseph Lipsky read a new study from the Institute for Highway Safety which revealed that the number of pedestrians hit and killed in car accidents across America grew to thirty-year high. Having helped the families of too many Floridians who’ve lost loved ones in car accident, the study’s findings sadly come as no surprise.
The IIHS studied car accidents which resulted in wrongful deaths of pedestrians so try to ascertain the reasons behind the shocking annual increase. The study confirmed that nearly six thousand pedestrians were killed in car accident in 2016, which was the largest number of pedestrian traffic deaths in thirty years. Incredibly the nearly fifty percent increase in pedestrian traffic deaths is significantly greater than the number of all traffic wrongful deaths over the same period, when that number rose eleven percent.
A predominant factor in the majority of pedestrian traffic deaths is the time of day pedestrians are likely to be hit by a vehicle. The greatest number of car accidents resulting in a pedestrian’s death happened during the evening, when 4,500 pedestrians died during the time period from 2009 through 2016, this was an increase of more than fifty percent. The number of pedestrian deaths during daytime hours was more than two-thirds less, at 1,300.00. With many of the traffic deaths occurring in residential neighborhoods with fewer designated crosswalks, the Institute found that higher speed limits in many municipalities results to more fatalities when a vehicle strikes a pedestrian.
In hopes of turning this deadly tide, the Institute is asking local governments to provide better lighting and more designated crosswalks. They are also reminding pedestrians to take have a greater awareness of their surroundings, but not using their phones to text or surf while walking. Of particular concern, the study found that because the majority of deadly pedestrian accident happen along roadways such as Broward Boulevard or University Driver, rather than highways like US1, that SUVs and pickup trucks are the vehicles most frequently involved in crashes resulting in pedestrian fatalities. Due to the higher front ends of SUVs, they have a greater likelihood impacting a pedestrian in his head and torso, this resulted in an eighty percent rise in the number of SUV and pickup truck related pedestrian deaths.
Even with advances in vehicle technology, including more autonomous driving features, driver distraction, especially on local roadways, can easily result in pedestrian fatalities. Too often those drivers with vehicles that have collision avoidance systems mistakenly believe that that equipment will unfailingly prevent an accident, even if they aren’t paying attention. But, as recent news reports have informed us, many times so-called autopilot systems do not work as expected, resulting in the tragic and unnecessary loss of life. This is precisely why we remind our clients and friends that using a smart phone while driving is anything but smart. We urge everyone to remember that drivers share the roads with pedestrians and to pay attention at all times, rather than relying on a new car’s systems.